I have recently come back from a trip to Sri Lanka where I became immersed in the local food and culture. I thoroughly enjoyed the laid back and friendly attitude of the Sri Lankan people. We spent most days relaxing on chilled out beaches, eating curry and drinking local beer. Exactly what the doctor ordered!
We flew into Mattala airport and from there we travelled to Tangalle where we stayed in a surf and yoga retreat called ‘The Talalla Retreat’. The area was absolutely beautiful. There was a white sandy beach only minutes walk from the retreat where we spent our days. It was on this beach, that I first tasted Dhal curry (vegetarian curry made from lentils). For 300 Sri lankan rupees (about 2.75 euro) you could get a Dhal curry with brown rice, mango chutney and my favourite…. poppadoms!! This became my dish of choice, only occasionally swapping it for fresh tiger prawns.
Since returning, I have been craving a good curry so I decided to go in search of an authentic Dhal curry recipe which I could recreate at home. So here goes nothing…..
You will need:
- 1 cup of Dhal/ red lentils
- 1/4 cup of coconut milk (I used the low fat version)
- 1 Med onion, chopped finely
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 small green chillies, chopped finely
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp oil
- pinch of turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- salt to taste
- Roughly 2 cups of water
- 3 curry leaves
Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.
When the mustard seeds have cracked open, add chopped onion, green chillies and cumin seeds and fry until onions are golden brown, then add the crushed garlic and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
In a saucepan add washed red lentils and water. Boil until they are cooked (around 7-10 mins). When cooked it will change colour from orange to a pale yellow and expand in size.
Add coconut milk, salt, cumin powder and turmeric powder. Mix it well and cook for another 3-4 mins.
Add cooked onion mixture, curry leaves and ground pepper and mix it well.
Turn off flame.
Serve hot with rice of your choice.
Et voila! I was very happy with my first attempt at a Dhal curry and it definitely satisfied my curry cravings!
Dhal curry, basmati rice, poppadoms (which I bought in the supermarket and shallow fried at home) and shop bought mango chutney. Perhaps, I will attempt to make my own chutney next time!
I hope you enjoyed my first post!